Curse of a Vampire
The cursed six
"It all started with three words: She will live..."
Sounds like bones being snapped one after the other erupted eerily in the night. Seconds ticked by and the crackling became louder. Suddenly, a deafening yelp invoked further screams, the discord rivaling a tortured soul. Then, all too suddenly, the shrieks were quieted, as if to keep all that will happen a secret. Without a moon to emit its soothing light and stars to guide them, the youthful group continued to meander in sheer darkness -- or not? Perhaps the more sensible members of the group clicked their flashlights into life, the might of their lights shredding away the darkness for miles. However, from the distance they stood, the light was far too blinding. Immediately, the light was lowered to a level that barely revealed the stone crosses and humped pillars all around them. Yes, the group of five had escaped into the night for an outing...to a cemetery, no less.
"W-w-wait! If you both had flashlights, why didn't either of you use it until now?" The person who had spoken was Asya, the only Sophomore in the group and, so far, the youngest amongst them. Her bravery to speak out against her older peers was probably the result of her appearance. Asya was a spunky sixteen year old who parted her hair from the far right of her head to the left for a "mature" look. And it certainly gave her maturity -- at least in appearance. Her hair was bouncy, healthy, and curled only enough to give the impression that it "floated". She obviously loved styling her hair in ways that complimented her emerald eyes, but it was her matured body that caused people to question her age. To put it simply, from her fashion and posture to her height and body composition, she looked two years older than she should look. Asya is still pondering whether this is a good thing or not.
"Hahah- It's probably -heh- b-because you -haha- took a tumble into -ha- a gr-grave earli -- hahahahah! Ah, your face was priceless! It was more frightening than your scream -- hahaha!" Jabbing his finger at Asya and wiping the tears that came from excessive laughter was Avon, a nineteen year old Junior who stayed back two years in his Freshman years. He was obviously the oldest of them all, but judging from the glare coming from Asya, she certainly didn't respect him as such, despite his looks. Dirty blonde spikes were tussled around on his head, the tips nearly white in hue. Bronze skin highlighted his athletic frame and, during the rare moments of seriousness, his dark eyes held an intensity that would woe any girl. Sadly, his happy-go-lucky lifestyle and comfortable attire that consisted of torn jeans, bright hoodies, and oversized shirts supposedly passed down from his older brother became a quick turn-off.
"Avon, focus. If we dally too long, the person responsible will have to commit to the punishment game." The female wielder of the light dropped her voice to a dangerous, low volume. As she hoped, her words became chills that ceased all jokes and even resulted in a few shivers. Her name was Circe, an eighteen year old Senior with narrowed eyes even darker than Avon's. Of course, she traced her eyes with a black eyeliner specifically to creep people out, especially handy for the caption of the debate team. To add to her seemingly gothic features, Circe cut her jet black hair into a bob, some strands wavering over her eyes in a menacing manner. Even her sense of fashion was decked in black, ranging from feminine suits to a pencil skirt and a plain, unattractive blouse -- which she happened to be wearing at the moment.
"Zoth awaits us at 'a looming tombstone that gains visibility only on the darkest of nights.' The forecast suggested a new moon next week, but as we are near the heart of the city, not a single star can be seen and the skyscrapers properly hinder any moonlight from shining over this cemetery." Keeping her head tilted to a small notepad in her hands and only shifting her eyes to the sky was the least known amongst the group, Lamia. Only her classmates, Avon and Zoth, knew who she was beyond being a sports maniac. Being a 17 year old Junior, she already went through girls' basketball, tennis, soccer, and, as of this year, volleyball, baseball, and track and field. There are rumors that she even practices archery in whatever free time she has in order to increase accuracy and focus -- something Avon should work on. All the sun exposure gave her tanned skin, a pity after bleaching her wavy, brown hair blonde in order to compliment her azure eyes.
"...Let's go." That was their second in command, the young man with few words named Damian. Everyone watched as he whirled his flashlight to the tallest tombstone they ever saw, a spectacle that only those incapable of seeing through darkness -- which was everyone without the flashlights -- would miss. Damian took one more glance back, revealing the third pair of eyes like coal. After he knew he had everyone's attention, he swung his hair forward, causing his red locks to swish with the motion. His stoic nature fit perfectly as a student librarian, but oddly, he was also on the debate team. That raised some questions, particularly as to whether or not it was required to keep up a social barrier as a member of the debate team. Perhaps the hardest aspect about Damian to figure out, though, was how someone with such a normal past living in a normal household with normal parents would join in the antics of such suspicious kids on such an auspicious night.
"...The words spurn ideas of the afterlife, and of a girl rising from her grave..."
Wearily waiting for his companions was Zoth, who hummed merrily to a soft melody. The melody poured from his gray goggles with orange tinted lens. Being somewhat of a genius, Zoth equipped them with audio, radio, and a calling feature -- not that he would risk coming off as panic by calling someone. Instead, he pressed his head on the tombstone behind him, his mint green hair contrasting with the pitch black surface. Boring! Slamming his hands on the ground, Zoth jerked forward, preparing to leap on his feet, but decided against it. Patience. But Zoth was never patient. How else would he have skipped his Sophomore year if he had complied with the expectations of Freshman and learn according to his teachers and peers?! It was patience that cost him a graduation at the age of sixteen, but it was okay. Everything that would happen today, before the sun dared to interrupt the process, would make up for his "patience".
Settling back in a relaxed position, Zoth couldn't help but grin at the tombstone above him, his amethyst irises glittering with excitement. It wasn't an ordinary tombstone, that was for sure, but it also wasn't as supernatural as the rumors made it sound. Zoth would know, considering he exaggerated the fragmented tale he had found lingering on the internet. A contraption in the form of a tombstone would certainly give life to a little girl who wished to live once more, but again, that would be too simple. A ghostly girl popping up out of nowhere would backtrack to those silly little tests of courage the people of the past loved so much. No, he would go so much further. Granted, the girl would appear, but so would a wild fire to punish the children who mocked her untimely death. The fire would spark miniature bombs, creating panic and chaos. But it was all just a game, a fun experiment with the pawns he gathered.
"Ah, here they come! Excellent! Let the game begin -- huh? Now that's strange. Did those rumors attract unwanted guests? Hm...either way, my fun won't stop here!" Zoth hopped on his toes, sprinting towards his five "friends." Casually eyeing them all, he realized the two additional figures his goggles allowed him to spot were no longer present. However, he knew his eyes did not deceive him. There was a tall fellow and...a girl who looked awfully familiar.
"...She would have six sins, each sin to mirror six souls..."
Asya, Avon, Circe, Lamia, Damian, and the leader of them all, Zoth. They all held an unyielding fear in their hearts, not so much from a sorrowful past, but rather, from facing a crossroad. One path would have them lost forever in regrets and the other would lead to discovering meaning in their short lives. Such a crossroad is a part of life as a human, and as such, wouldn't interest a vampire who transcended such problematic blockades. However, how many vampires would have the chance for their unfulfilled self to judge six perplexing teens? Lingering in midair was a girl with heaps of gray hair trailing down her back and big, childish eyes surrounded by thick eyelashes. It enraged the existing version how well a kid decades after her death could mimic her sickly state and distinct details in an animated doll.
"How dare those sinful kids make a cheap clone of my past self! Look at them, Lich! Those...jerks look as if they are worshipping her -- me -- grr! Come on! My bloods getting low and I think a good scare would do them some good, especially that no-good nihilist!"
"If I knew any better, I would say your blood pressure is abnormally high for someone who had "fast" for some time, Ruki."
"Don't be ridiculous, Lich. I'm 'dead,' remember?" For a moment, a genuine smile appeared on Ruki's face. Although mostly serious, Lich's dry humor paid off as an undead.
Ruki's and Mikhail's comedic sideshows always lightened the mood between them, but nothing was better than putting on a show for someone expecting a completely different show. First up was manipulating the doll, which began to speak of six sins: grief, laziness, lies, lost hope, lovelessness, and, as already stated, nihilism. Ruki truly wanted the doll to state "the future of nothingness for the wasteful lunatic and no-good believer of absolutely nothing," but that would alert Zoth that the doll he and everyone else were listening to wasn't his doll. As Ruki planned, a collaborative focus on one point (the doll) would allow for collaborative fears -- at least at first. In other words, they all saw and heard the same thing under the control of Lich's "Terror," but soon their fears would manifest in their individual sins.
The first to fall was Asya, who began screaming uncontrollably. She thrust her hands upon her head, shaking it for the images to go away, but they simply wouldn't. Before she knew it, Asya was fourteen once more, a year before transferring from the public schools she knew so well to the ones in New York. Her younger sister, five years old at the time, had just gotten a bottle full of liquor broken against her head. She cried out, clawed her way to her sister, only to be snatched up by her hateful father and sliced by the now shattered bottle. "Help me, please!" was shouted over and over again, but Asya was helpless. Her arms were locked behind her back by her own mother, who watched her youngest child being tortured as if in a trance. Then, when her sister took her last breath, Asya finally understood why her world was falling apart: her mother was pregnant. That's why their hope had faded away. A baby for a mother who only had girls, a chance for the boy the tyrant of a father wished to raise. "No, not again...please, I don't want to die! Why do I have to be replaced?!"
Those last few words triggered the fear within Damian, the not so perfect son with two doting parents. He was an only child, a child who was spoiled and nurtured lovingly, but they weren't his parents. No one else knew but him, and the worse part was that his real parents were still alive! He had seen them, and it was at that moment that he couldn't believe in love. Standing across the street, laughing without a care in the world, was a beautiful and young woman, a charismatic and robust man, and...a spirited, little girl. They were his true parents, but when he passed them along the crosswalk, not a single sign of recognition was given to him. Was that love? How could he, as a young boy, remember the mother and father who packed and left him as a kid, abandoned him with not so much as a note, only to resurface with another child in the place he belonged?! "How frivolous. Why seek the approval of those who don't appreciate all that you've done to be recognized?"
Ruki could almost sympathize with Damian, but she couldn't allow her mind to slip into the past. Lich was affecting the group one after the other, empowered by their connecting fears. If Ruki would have reflected on the events that lead to her rebirth, she would have been lost within the world of "Terror" like Asya and Damian and now Circe and Avon.
Circe was the first one to submit, her mind spinning with all that she accomplished and none of all that she did amounting to the efforts of her older brother. Avon could relate, struggling against his three older sisters in elementary school with no idea that he couldn't affect his parents the way his sisters did. What separated the two was Circe's determination to keep her brother's success a secret from her high school and to downplay everything she did to the parents she thought would care less either way. The lies continued and, to her relief, she managed to gain success in school without being overshadowed by her brother, No one would know how much Circe suffered because of those lies, at least no one who knew her in high school. But Avon had seen her since elementary school, witnessing her fall and pick herself up with all that she could muster within herself. He thought she would end up like him, but after seeing her change and the birth of his younger sister rivaling that of his artistic, intellectual, and logical sisters, his laziness ebbed away. So why was she so scared?!
"...And when her sins were told, she would judge her now sinned souls."
Zoth whipped his head around, seemingly unaffected by the "Terror" encroaching upon his prey. The girl he had spotted earlier had just spoken, but the uncanny similarities to the doll he had made couldn't be a coincidence. Once he knew that the two girls were the same people, Zoth couldn't help but burst out in laughter. Ruki wasn't going to show any mercy to such a brat. Darting forward, Ruki flashed in front of Zoth with amazing speed, gaining the upper hand. But she paused. Avon was able to see the ghastly spell wrapped around him and his friends, and he wasn't about to let the stranger before him get away with what she did. Interestingly, he not only managed to block Zoth, but he also held Circe with his right arm, attempting to snap her out of whatever had a hold of her.
"You got some nerve--"
His actions caught her off guard, but Avon was just close to a century too late to stop her. Bending her right leg and sweeping her left leg to trip her target, Ruki head-butted him before launching her fangs at his arms. By now, Ruki knew how dumb it was to simply bite someone and leave her teeth marks as evidence that vampires exist, so she made them her weapon. Once her teeth punctured his skin, Ruki tore at it by dragging her teeth downwards and then ripped them out. Blood gushed into a crimson mess on his arms, at which Circe zipped over to Ruki as back up. That didn't last long. Ruki rotated out of the way as a powerful punch was aimed at her, countering it with a dropping kick to Circe's neck. Although it was an unsatisfying spot, Ruki dragged her teeth diagonally along Circe's back, sending one more kick where the fresh wounds resided.
"Don't worry," Ruki dunked as Avon made a grab at her and then hurled him into Circe, "neither of you will die today."
The nightmare still played in Asya's head, but the noise of pain and resentment echoed closer and closer. Her fury at her mother was subsiding. The kicks she sent to her mother's belly was becoming more and more meaningless. Gradually, Asya recalled a doctor announcing the faked pregnancy her mother clung to for sanity and escape from the tormentor that was her husband. They both had grieved for their sins, so why was she reliving something that couldn't be changed? More importantly, she wanted to convey her feeling to the one person who hardened his heart towards her: Damian. She wanted him more than anyone to know he loved her, and when her sight returned, and she saw the outcome of Avon and Circe, she knew now could be the last chance to let him know of her love.
"Damian, you coward -- e-ewwww! Wha-what is this?!" The green spirits shrieking at her were fading with her consciousness restored, but it still freaked her out. If given the chance, Asya probably could out-scream them in pitch, but once she saw Ruki's locked gaze upon her, Asya resumed her declaration. "Damian, do you realize how many hearts you broke?! No, that's not right -- shit! -- ugh, I'll just say it! I love you, and if tonight -- er, if today is our last, I want you to love me in return! I know it's selfish, but be my first love and let me be yours!"
Ruki waited a few seconds for the love-birds to open their hearts to each other. If anything, seeing your fears drawn out in front of your eyes and then overcoming them was enough for Ruki to show sympathy...again. What was it with these six -- no, four. She unleashed her last acts of kindness to the possible couple before facing the only two who didn't succumb to "Terror": Zoth and Lamia.
"Why should I let the both of you live?" Lamia's down-casted eyes revealed she wouldn't speak, but just as Zoth's lips parted, Ruki interrupted him. "Don't answer the question! I already know all I need to know. Zoth, you won't be dying today because, unlike these 'pawns' you were so willing to endanger, you still haven't found your reason to live. Sorry but, I don't kill incompetent, juvenile hooligans. Oh, and I'm referring to you, kid." Ruki pointed at Zoth, upsetting him till his face turned red.
"Shut up! And just who is the kid here?! A century has already passed and you only have time for a bunch of misfit--"
"The real misfit is you. Sweet dreams."